Saturday, December 31, 2011

Want to put a smiles on the faces of a refugee family?

Want to put a smiles on the faces of a refugee family?

We, Iskashitaa volunteers go to the dentist sometimes. Take your visit as an opportunity to request a tax deductible donation of toothpaste and/or toothbrushes. I have to go to the dentist often and on one occasion I mentioned sponsoring a family of refugees from Burundi. I asked him if he could find in his heart to, perhaps, donate some supplies to help this family of ten. He was more than happy to oblige and after mentioning that to a oral hygiene company they donated as well- 70 trial size toothpaste boxes and toothbrushes. The family has not had to buy toothpaste for over six months, and in a family of ten every penny saved counts. We invite you to contact your dentist today and Iskashitaa will redistribute the dental supplies. I was not expecting such bounties when I first asked, so this relationship has been unexpectedly rewarding.

Make your dentist into a philanthropist today and with permission we will thank them in our newsletters, on facebook, and perhaps even our new active blog which means free advertising for them! Contact if you have questions.

Thank you Fabienne Dupont for submitting this article.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Thank you Church Women United!

Church Women United made a great effort to support us once again through an in-gathering of Iskashitaa refugee sewing and crafts supply donations Nov. 11 which filled the entire van from head to toe! Thank you Church Women United!

FUNdraiser FUNdraiser

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Iskashitaa and St. Francis Support Amani DayCare

Iskashitaa and St. Francis Support Amani DayCare

by Barbara Eiswerth

It was a joy to connect St Francis in the Foothills Outreach team to Amani International Learning and Daycare Center and the diverse refugee families they serve. For over six years, Iskashitaa has been involved with and supported the UN refugees who own and operate Amani. We supply them with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other sundry donations whenever possible. We help share resources and challenges with the many families in need. Now we have partnered with them to be the point of redistribution for Iskashitaa monthly diapers, thus introducing more refugees to Amani's multilingual services while continuing to support our global friends. Thank you St Francis in the Foothills UMC for the food and toys and especially for the sorely needed washer and dryer. Stay tuned for the continuing wish list from Amani to support once refugees and soon to be American leaders!

Iskashitaa Diaper Redistribution now at Amani

Refugees who have received diapers from Iskashitaa will now contact Amani after the 25th of each month to request diaper donations after filling out the required diaper form. Amani International Learning and Daycare Center is located at 2014 E Grant Road.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer of the Month
Amanda Cox
ESL Volunteer
Amanda started volunteering with Iskashitaa's harvesting program in the summer 2010 and then began teaching ESL classes as an Honors College intern in the Fall 2010. Although her commitment with the Honors College ended in the Spring 2011, when she graduated with her degree in Anthropology, Amanda continued teaching classes through the summer and has helped Kelsey and Taylor this semester at Oasis Apartments. She has been a wonderful asset to our program, helping out with harvests, community events and also planning fun activities with the kids who live at Oasis Apartments. Iskashitaa staff would like to express their gratitude towards Amanda and thank her for all the wonderful work she has done with our program.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Refugee Voices

The ESL HCET Team's Fall Semester: Refugee Voices

The ESL HCET interns did a wonderful job this semester and showed a great commitment to their classes and especially to their students. The focus of this semester was finding ways to engage their students by using their backgrounds, experiences and culture. Many of interns found ways to incorporate their students' backgrounds in lessons, which encouraged much cultural exchange between the interns and their students. For example, a lesson Kelsey and Taylor held at Oasis Apartments discussed safety in Tucson, focusing on the need to lock doors, using crosswalks and child safety. This lesson turned into a conversation about the culture of safety in Bhutan and Nepal and how there was such a strong sense of community and everyone knew each other, and they did not have these issues like we often have in the United States.

FUNdraiser FUNdraiser

The winter class schedule will be posted on the Google calendar, so stay tuned! We are always looking for donations for our classes including white boards, white board markers, pencils, notebooks, reading materials, crayons and gently used books. Please contact Kathy Zaleski if you have any materials,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harvesting With Liberata

Harvesting with Liberata

by Mike Parelskin, Harvesting and Food Preservation Coordinator

The month of November lived up to its reputation; we harvested pumpkins like crazy. With over 5 truckloads of pumpkins harvested from Buckelew Farm, we could practically swim in the squash surrounding the Iskashitaa office:


I would like to extend thanks to those who helped with these harvests.

On the last trip to Buckelew Farm, before the frost and the cows got to the fields of leftover pumpkins, Liberata joined me for a harvest. With her fantastic smile and our severe language barrier we headed out in the Fruit Truck towards Three Points attempting to make exchanges about ourselves, where we were from, and what we would be doing for the day. These conversations continued as we arrived at the farm. As we harvested the hefty pumpkins our communications fluctuated between verbal and what I now like to call the universal language: charades. As we acted and made grunting noises followed by a single word, we both were able to learn new words in each other's language, Liberata's being Swahili.

On the adjacent field to ours, a farmer turned on a bird cannon. For those who don't know, a bird cannon is a machine, which runs on propane, and is used to make a very loud bang to keep birds from eating a crop. Well, this constant noise of explosion launched Liberata into a charade I didn't really see coming. As one can imagine, sounds of this nature meant horrific things when they were heard in her home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Liberata formed an air machine gun in her arms and began to fire away. As she fired away her new charade made air-machine-gun, I made a bird with my hands. My bird began to nibble at one of the pumpkins. Liberata fired her air-machine-gun and my bird immediately flew away. 'Ahhhhhhhh' she gasped as the big smile returned and once again stretched across her face. We had done it. We had both won this game of charades. She understood there was no danger to the loud blast of the bird cannon, and I was able to peek into her past as well as be glad the she was here, safely harvesting pumpkins with Iskashitaa.

If you would like to join us for a harvest and a game of charades, contact Mike.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Emily Ann Jones

Sewing and Crafts Coordinator

Emily Ann Jones, Sewing and Crafts Coordinator

Emily Ann Jones received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arizona and completed a study abroad program for travel photojournalism in Orvieto, Italy. Although photography is her main passion, she became interested in non-profit organizations, including humanitarian aid while reporting for her senior capstone course, Border, a student-run online publication focusing on U.S./Mexico relations. Emily has also photographed and written for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Tucson and gained an internship at the Tucson Weekly. Since then she has worked as a marketing consultant and client coordinator for a local independent portrait photography business and has also completed several freelance photography jobs. Currently, Emily also works with another non-profit organization, Planet Coexist, as the video editor and fundraising coordinator that puts on the annual Earthwalk event. With a lengthy background in arts and crafts and planning events, Emily hopes to positively impact the Iskashitaa Sewing and Crafts Circle.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome Lizbeth and Emily, New Iskashitaa Staff!

Welcome Lizbeth and Emily, New Iskashitaa Staff!


Lizbeth Gonzalez

Volunteer Coordinator

Lizbeth Gonzalez, Volunteer Coordinator

Lizbeth Gonzalez has just joined the Iskashitaa staff as the new volunteer coordinator. She grew up on the Nogales, Sonora/Arizona border where she witnessed firsthand the dynamics of immigration and international relations. She studied International Studies with a focus on Public Health at the University of Arizona, working directly with Latin American women discussing their health issues in Mexico and Guatemala. She has recently returned from Tanzania after coordinating a HIV/AIDS education campaign in rural villages with the NGO, Support for International Change. Lizbeth is passionate about advocating education as a tool to decrease health issues and increase quality of life. Iskashitaa attracted Lizbeth due to our mission to use local harvests to provide nutritional foods to international refugees as well as working to create connections with refugees within the Tucson community. Lizbeth is excited to work locally with a non-profit organization helping volunteers learn about their community and help create connections with refugees.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Sewing and Craft Supply Redistribution Day: Friday, December 9 (11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)

Has moved to the Oasis Learning Center, 306 E. Navajo #1106, and will now be on the first Friday of every month!

The generous donations of volunteers and friends of Iskashitaa have led to a VERY full storage shed and we want to get those donations back out to our refugee friends! As usual, we cannot do this without your help! Please RSVP online or send an email to Emily at We need volunteers to set up, help redistribute the supplies, and clean up.

C-Cinco's 2nd Annual Renegade Bazaar: Saturday, December 10, (11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)

657 West St. Mary's Road, Warehouse Unit C-5

Purchase craft items made by Iskashitaa Refugee Sewing and Crafts Circle and other Tucsonans! Shop local! Put your holiday spending dollars toward social justice!


Food preservation workshops with refugees and Iskashitaa:

Second and Last Friday of each Month (excluding holidays and the last Friday in December)

Pumpkin chutney, apple butter, marmalades, and more! Learn about new foods, techniques, and cross cultural traditions. Come for an hour or come for half the day! If you are interested in volunteering please contact our new harvesting coordinator, Mike Parelskin, at

Also contact Mike or check out our facebook page to join us for a harvest!

St. Francis in the Foothills Crafts' Market: Second and Fourth Sundays of the month (8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.)

Every second and fourth Sunday, our refugee-made products are for sale at St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Road. Come, browse, and buy our refugee made crafts and local preserves! Items recycled materials sewn, crocheted, knitted, into great new rugs, bags, jewelry, baskets, and clothes.


Thank you for your support at our La Cocina FUNdraiser on November 22!

After much preparation and excitement, Iskashitaa celebrated at La Cocina on November 22nd! The event brought together staff, supporters, and friends as we shared food and music. Between a silent auction, a live auction, and sales Iskashitaa was able to raise around one thousand dollars! Thank you to everyone who attended this wonderful night!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shop Iskashitaa

Shop Iskashitaa!!!


This holiday season, help support refugee families by purchasing Iskashitaa local food products, handmade jewelry, purses, rugs, or baskets for all of your family and friends!


You can buy Iskashitaa products at Poet's Corner local arts sale this weekend! You can also purchase Iskashitaa products at local businesses throughout Tucson! We are happy to announce the addition of several new business to our growing list including Dinnerware Artspace, Deco Boutique, and Mi Casa! Mi Casa on our very own Grant Rd. is going to start carrying our Burundi and Congolese baskets with NO percentage take for their store just support for Iskashitaa!!! The bar has been raised! Thank You Mi Casa!

Click on our Google Map to find a store near you:

Making time for refugees and recycling...
Patchouli Blue will soon be carrying LOCAL jewelry made of recycled magazines and calendars by one of our Congolese friends. What we want from the community is your beautiful 2011 calendars for our future recycled art projects for UN refugees. No old calendars then how about your extra 2012 calendars - often we end up with too many, No? - This is how you can share the abundance!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Holidays from Iskashitaa!

Happy Holidays from Iskashitaa

Hello Iskashitaa Supporters! We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season. We have a busy month in store and we hope to see you at one of our many upcoming events.
Please join us for our Volunteer Potluck dinner this Monday from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at St. Francis in the Foothills UMC, 4625 E. River Road. Bring your favorite vegetarian dish to share! The more food the better. Please RSVP with Beth at
General Announcements from Iskashitaa:
Afghani House Burns Down
We are sad to report that the house of an Afghani refugee family has burned down. If you are interested in helping or donating items, please contact Lizbeth, our new volunteer coordinator.
Chickens too!
Do you have a hen that is over the hill? Did you know that in addition to local fruits and vegetables, Iskashitaa also takes donations of live chickens? Contact us to donate!
Iskashitaa Office Hours
We would like to let you know that the Iskashitaa office will be closed for the holidays.
Iskashitaa Office Hours:
Mon-Fri 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Please call ahead to schedule an appointment.